Delta orders 100 Airbus planes in blow to Boeing


New York (AFP)

Delta Air Lines announced Thursday it has ordered 100 Airbus planes with an option to buy 100 more, in a blow to Airbus' American rival Boeing.

Delta said it was buying the A321neo aircraft to renew its narrowbody fleet. The planes have 197 seats.

"This is the right transaction at the right time for our customers, our employees and our shareholders," Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a statement.

The order is worth an estimated $12.7 billion based on the aircraft catalogue price, and deliveries will begin in 2020.

Airbus in 2015 opened a manufacturing plant in Mobile, Alabama to build single-aisle planes with an eye towards competing more aggressively in the US market.

Toulouse, France-based Airbus highlighted its growing connection to the US in the announcement, saying most of the new planes would be delivered from Mobile.

"This purchase furthers our commitment to US aviation -- a commitment that has never been stronger," said John Leahy, chief operating officer for customers at Airbus Commercial Aircraft.

"Today, there is more US content in Airbus aircraft than from any other country, with more than 40 percent of our aircraft-related procurement coming from the United States."

The Airbus order comes amid a public spat between Delta and US giant Boeing over a trade dispute involving a separate airplane order by Delta and Canadian company Bombardier. Boeing has argued those aircraft were underpriced due to illegal Canadian government subsidies to Bombardier.

Bombardier in October unveiled a production alliance with Airbus that granted the European company a stake in the Bombardier C-Series program. Delta has said it will not pay for any US tariffs sought by the US government in response to Boeing complaints.